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Fewer renters in the Toronto region are expected to make the leap into home ownership this year, at least when compared to late 2018 and most of 2019.

Real estate data firm Altus Group released its 2020 GTA Flash Report today, which included a survey of homebuyer intentions in the GTA. Survey results showed a downtick both in intentions among renters and current homeowners.

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The reason that both of these groups were less confident they’d purchase a home in 2020? Increased uncertainty over economic growth and the labour market were cited as key factors influencing potential buyers to stay off to the sidelines this year. Home prices across the region began marching skyward again following a plateau in 2018 and early 2019, so Altus Group researchers believe this is likely playing a role in dissuading buyers.

That said, the Altus survey found that the desire for homeownership hasn’t waned at all among renters.

“The good news is that the desire for homeownership remains strong among renters under 45 years of age, with 1 in 3 saying they are still saving for a down payment on a home and only about 1 in 9 indicating they prefer the renter lifestyle,” said a press release distributed today accompanying the 2020 GTA Flash Report.

Renters in Toronto have faced an increasingly uphill battle when it comes to entering the property market. Condos, long considered the more realistic starter home for many, have become increasingly less affordable in Toronto when compared to other property types, especially over the last three years.

“Condos’ affordability advantage is shrinking,” wrote RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue in a research note published late last year.

While the First-Time Home Buyers’ Incentive introduced last year by the federal government should provide the extra boost some renters need to make a purchase, the program has been criticized for not providing enough support to prospective buyers in expensive markets like Toronto.

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